Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Galveston has always been special to Sonny and I. We both have so many great childhood memories of trips there - even camping trips. We now really sympathize with our poor Mothers when we think about that, but that is another story.

We took our own children on lots of outings to Galveston. Even now, one of our favorite ways to spend a Saturday is to go down to Galveston, sit on the sea wall and read, wander around the historic district and eat at a favorite restaurant. Since Hurricane Ike, we had not been to our beloved city because we knew it would break our hearts.
I saw a tiny bit of the destruction going to and from the cruise terminal. However, Sonny explored alot of the island when he dropped us off for the cruise. He decided I could handle it and we drove down two weeks ago. As long as you stay on the sea wall, things are not so bad. The first picture was included to show you the cruise ship we travled on leaving Galveston for another cruise. As you can see, the sea wall and the jetties are still there. One good thing is there is alot more beach in some places as the city has been hauling in alot of sand. Most of the seawall restaurants are open for business also.
It is sad that the fishing piers are gone and all that is left of Murdocks is just a few sticks standing in the water.
So, I was holding up pretty well until we went down Broadway to go to the historic district to eat. The first thing I noticed was that all of the beautiful flowers and oleanders are either gone or dead. Those beautiful oak trees that lined Broadway were bare just as though it was winter. Most all the plant life is dead. I was so shocked I didn't even take a picture. It was that way pretty much throughout downtown also. The businesses are slowly coming back to life, but alot are still in the rebuilding process, especially on the strand. I know it could have been worse, but it is still sad.
As we drove around, we saw two beautiful weddings, so life goes on, even without trees.


Michael, Ryan, Jenny, Matt & Mom celebrated Easter dinner with us. While I prepared the usual menu with some help with the side dishes from Jenny & Mom, I got a little carried away with the desserts. Having just arrived home from the cruise, maybe I felt that I needed to prepare a dessert bar since we had experienced 7 days of dessert bars. Or maybe I felt the need to finally have desserts that tasted good. Whatever the reason, I went on a baking spree.
Matt, Mom and Michael really enjoyed the carrot cake.

Blackberry cobbler is a favorite of Sonny's and has been Ryan's favorite dessert since he was old enough to pick the blackberries from the back field.

Last but not least, these cherry tarts were for Jenny.

Here is everyone full and happy!


Our grandchildren are fast and when you tell them there are 100 eggs filled with candy and bonus eggs with money inside, they are even faster! I took at least 25 pictures of them hunting the eggs, and all of them are of their backs!

No matter how hard I tried, they would briefly look at the camera and then take off right as I was snapping the picture. As you can see, Benjamin caught on fast this year. After finding 2 eggs, he knew exactly what to do and that there was candy inside!

I finally had everyone sit down after all of the eggs were found and this was the only one that I was able to get of all of them looking at the camera.

Oh yes, the adults were not left out. Each Mom got to take home a flower pot full of eggs shaped cookies and suckers.


Sorry I am so late posting my Easter pictures. Sunday of last week, Sonny experienced what we thought was one of his occasional health issues. Instead, it turned out to be a small virus. We know this because within 24 hours, I had a very, very big virus. It laid me out for the whole week. Yuck!

On to a happier event. We had the Goode side of the family over for Good Friday.

I really enjoy decorating for Easter. Spring is my favorite time of year.
We could hardly get the grandchildren to eat as they were so excited about the Easter Egg Hunt.

While the children were all excited about the Easter Egg candy to be found, all of the adults could not wait to dig into Carey's chocolate cheesecake courtesy of Paula Deen. It was yummy!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Before we even got off the boat, I told Mom that she was going to miss being pampered. Seven days of non stop service will do that to you. I also told her not to call Sonny and I and say any of the following because we were not picking up where the cruise left off!!!!

Why is my bed not turned down and a cute towel animal on my pillow?

I need my hot tub and pool!

What happened to the beautiful water outside my window?

Where is the fabulous French dining room with all of the wonderful waiters?

I want to eat lunch in either the Monet dining room, the Lido deck buffet, the pool side grill, or maybe I should just order room service!

Yes, I warned her. Don't think she hasn't tried to at least get us to fold her some cute towel animals. It is hard to come back to reality. Well, to tell you the truth, right about now I wouldn't mind having lunch at the pool side grill or maybe even some room service! Glad you had such a wonderful time Mom!


If you have ever been on a cruise, you know that one of the highlights is the food. Mom quickly discovered that this was one aspect of cruising that she could become spoiled to. Not only do you spend seven days not having to plan menus, go to the grocery store or cook, but wonderful food is available 24 hours a day. She quickly adapted to having a waiter drop her beautifully folded napkin in to her lap and bringing her whatever she wanted to eat with a mere wave of her hand.

Claiming to have never had room service before, she was elated to have breakfast served to her on china in our room. She even learned how to order it herself.
She also came to appreciate the beautiful desserts that the chefs create. I am always amazed what a pastry chef can do with a little bit of flour or spun sugar. However, these beautiful desserts are only good to look at. Mom discovered, as I have, that European pastry chefs are all about the presentation, not about the taste.

As beautiful as all of these desserts are, they just cannot compare to good old Texas desserts. Give me cobblers, pies, M & M cookies, Texas Sheet Cake and cake balls anytime, especially those made from my family's heirloom recipes.

Sorry dear readers, but those fancy, French culinary trained pastry chefs need a few lessons from a Texas home cook. Maybe our desserts are a little lacking on presentation (however, I think I do a pretty good job of presentation when I set my mind to it), but Texas homemade desserts have these beat by a long shot when it comes to taste.
Even the classics such as cheesecake, creme brulee, and the simple cupcake fall short in the taste department. I'll put my 40 year old cheese cake recipes, cupcake recipes and Louisiana creme brulee recipe up against theirs any time. However, I will give them credit for creating spun sugar that looks like coral. Maybe that is the problem. They spend all of their time shaping pastry to cover a fruit pudding boat and hours spinning sugar. The chef is too exhausted to worry about how the dessert actually tastes!
Of course, I have heard that Americans like things too sweet and that is why we do not care for European desserts. I am not sure about that theory, but I know good desserts when I taste them and these are not it! Still, I always enjoy looking at them and taking pictures.
Now mind you, we did not go without sugar for seven days. All cruises have ice cream machines that are open 24 hours a day. Mom especially looked forward to the chocolate ice cream. Now that I think about it, since Galveston is their home port, that ice cream must have been Blue Bell! No wonder we liked it!

Monday, April 13, 2009


My Mom has an extreme gene. Thankfully, while she has passed it on to innocent family members, it is in a much weaker form. Mom has the "motion sickness" gene and it is the worse kind. She doesn't even have to be on a moving object to experience motion sickness. She can merely look at a floating boat, moving car or flying plane and become deathly ill. She also does not bother with such things as patches or pills to prevent becoming ill. Thus, no one in the family will willingly travel with her.

It became her goal to take a vacation and after many, many months of negotiations, she
convinced me to go on a cruise. Now mind you, starting six months out, I called her every day to remind her to get patches, pills, motion sickness bracelets, and any other motion sickness remedy known to mankind. She also had to promise that she would actually use them while on the trip. Many family members called or wrote me to first see if I was out of my mind, and then, once they were satisfied that I was indeed sane, warned me of the big mistake that I was making.

Thus, it was with a heavy heart that I got on the boat with her and watched land slowly disappear. However, miracles do still occur. I am pleased and proud to report that Mom did not get sick. She used all of her meds. and cruised like a veteran sailor. Who knew!
It was a great time of the year to cruise. The seas were beautiful and for the most part, calm. However, with all schools back in session after spring break, I will tell you that 75% of the people on the boat were her age and older. My single sons were glad to learn that bit of information so that they could better time their cruise should they decide to schedule one.

These pictures were taken in Key West, Freeport and Nassau. Mom had a great time and is ready to get back on the boat!